Cariboo photographer Chris Harris will be presenting a slideshow titled Emerging Landscapes at the next Williams Lake Film Club presentation on Jan. 12. (Chris Harris photo)

Cariboo photographer Chris Harris will be presenting a slideshow titled Emerging Landscapes at the next Williams Lake Film Club presentation on Jan. 12. (Chris Harris photo)

Williams Lake Film Club screening award winning Geographies of Solitude Jan. 12

Photographer Chris Harris will also present an introductory slideshow

By the Williams Lake Film Club

On Thursday Jan. 12 the Williams Lake Film Club is thrilled to start off 2023 with two stunning visual presentations that explore our natural environment.

The evening will begin with Emerging Landscapes, a photographic slideshow by renowned local photographer Chris Harris, which explores the fading glaciers of British Columbia, and explains how they are revealing an emerging ecosystem, set to original music.

This captivating modern day origin story is unfolding at the Chilcotin foothills of the Coast Mountains. It is always a reverential experience to see our local landscapes depicted through the lens of Chris Harris.

This will be followed by a screening of the newly theatrically released Geographies of Solitude by director Jacquelyn Mills. The film richly depicts life on Sable Island, Nova Scotia, through the perspective of its only full-time resident, naturalist and environmentalist Zoe Lucas.

Geographies of Solitude premiered at the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival (2022), where it won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, the CICAE Arthouse Cinema Award and the Caligari Film Prize. It had its Canadian premiere at the 2022 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, where it won the award for Best Canadian Feature Documentary, and it was recently awarded the honour of Best Canadian Documentary Film at the 2022 Vancouver International Film Festival.

Geographies of Solitude is a film that masterfully and playfully blurs the lines between science and art, and it is set far off the coast of Nova Scotia, on a small and remote crescent shaped island called Sable Island.

We follow in the footsteps of long-time resident Zoe Lucas, who has devoted her life to chronicling, studying, and discovering the inhabitants and rich ecosystem that surround her, as well as documenting the detritus of human life that washes up on the shore.

While researchers and scientists from Parks Canada come and go, you cannot visit the island without permission. Lucas is the single permanent inhabitant.

Declared a nature reserve in 2013, Sable Island is only about 40 kilometres long, and barely two kilometres at its widest point. On the face of it – with its sand dunes, and stunted foliage – we might not give the landscape a second look – but through Lucas’s observations, and Mill’s camera work – shot primarily on 16 mm film – the island’s immense beauty and mystery is brought into focus – incredible starry night skies, wind rippling through the grassland, the majestic dance of wild horses, the raucous exuberance of seals inhabiting the beach.

And the film’s soundtrack is not like others you may have heard. Specially designed microphones capture the rattling and crunch of insects and flora.

The organic sounds of the island – wind blowing over the grass, ocean waves crashing against the rocks and birdsong –combine with meditative chimes and harmonics, and truly immerse us into the ebb and flow of life on the island.

All aspects of the life cycle of an ecosystem are explored in detail here, including death and environmental rebirth.

On speaking of her motivation to create the film, Mill’s explains, “[t]he idea of creating a film that focuses on a sacred relationship to the natural world came into my mind and it felt really right. Immediately it clicked that Zoe and Sable Island would be the perfect subject to explore that sort of concept,” (Mills, POV Magazine, April 2022).

Mills had first heard about ‘the woman who lives on Sable Island’ watching TV as a young child. The film is not a political documentary about the environment, but rather “a sensorial experience” about “immersing yourself in a remarkable place and then having a bit of stillness and quiet for these deeper instincts to emerge” (Mills, POV Magazine, April 2022). As film critic Andrew Parker notes, “[o]n a technical level, Mills’ work is a marvel.

As a profile of an interesting person performing a vital service with little fanfare, it’s an eye-opening call to action.

And it also manages to be one of the most artful meditations on human life made all year. In short Geographies of Solitude is an unassuming gem of a movie that’s the total package” (TheGate.ca)

What better way to begin 2023 than with two reflective visual journeys that explore theinterconnectedness of space, and unveil the beauty that surrounds us?

Emerging Landscapes and the screening of Geographies of Solitude will be on Thursday Jan 12, at the Paradise Cinemas (78 Third Ave South). Tickets are $10. Advance tickets are now on sale at the Open Book, and remaining tickets will be sold in the cinema lobby prior to the screening.

Doors open at 6:30 pm, and the show starts at 7:00 pm. We encourage you to get your tickets in advance. To hear about the latest upcoming Williams Lake Film Club screenings, email williamslakefilmclub@gmail.com.

Submitted by the Williams Lake Film Club


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